Forever & Ever: Jump lesson recap!

So, due to the success of last week with my ‘motivator’ spurs I decided to try that one again- conditions were ripe for a very non responsive zombie pony. Hot, draggy, lazy and full sun (even in the evening, when our lesson is).


Oats’ mood yesterday: No.

Oats’ head was literally dragging on the ground. He was NOT having it yesterday.

I had my big spurs on and boy, he did not want to respond to them. He remembered from last week I suppose and was distinctly crankier and surlier about them. He responded well for the first few jumps and then a big F-U! Cranky, bucking, fussing and sucking back. Ahh…shit.

Well, the key to that is to get over with it! Sorry Oats, you are just going to have to deal.

He was very much cranky when I started using a crop for motivation as well, so this newest ‘tool’ is also eliciting a very ‘NO!’ response from him. Ah well, riding is always simple and never easy, eh?

We worked over the course and he was…not great but not horrible. It took a few jumps (like, 4) from the beginning of the course for him to let his drama-llama tendencies go and just get with the program. Of course with his drama-rama on the loose, my fear tendencies also tend to rear their ugly heads when he gets silly like this too…So it turned into a bit of me not wanting to let him have his head, him getting cranky and silly, and blahhhh…

But, progress is progress and I know this is something we can work together on.

It just feel so ugly right now! Gah!


My motivation is tomorrow: Lesson recap!

Another jump lesson last night, and Oats was moving really nicely. He was a bit sluggish at the start, and our left-lead canter warming up was…less than enthusiastic, but I chalked that up to him being a bit stiff in the warm-up and we kept it slow and easy until he felt a bit better.


Gidget doing her best ‘I am a poor orphaned puppy’ face…While hiding out in my laundry basket!!

Then we moved on to a small gymnastic, trot-in, one-stride to a vertical and two (VERY) short strides to a vertical. It was funny, my trainer is like, the first one is a short one but the two-stride? It should be riding better than it is, why do I have to keep moving it in??? Oh well, I guess that was what we were working with yesterday…A very short two-strides it is!

Oats was not in the mood to reach. At all.

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Moving on up, with grids! (This is an old pic from last year, good to see how they don’t scare me as much anymore.)

We worked through the grid, focused on correcting Oats’ severe right drift (and I fixed it, yess) and me bringing my shoulders back without pulling back on the reins on landing- not quite as successful.

The grid went up to 2’6”? I guess? And then we added in a small course, starting with the grid, to a trot fence (ha, Oats was so confused), to a small oxer, to a vertical, and back to the trot fence with a halt on the diagonal.

We did kind of fumble the oxer, he seemed surprised and stuttered on the approach, so we re-approached and nailed it!!! The vertical was similarly clumsy…Ah, well. The trot fences went great, though Oats was surprised to be trotting, haha.

The grid was awesome too.

I only did the course once- a part of me really wanted to do it again, but the more chicken part of me didn’t. And that part kind of won out…Small battles, I will try again next week and I will persevere! As it is, I do feel that my confidence, though very slow and incremental, is growing. My jump lessons are doing tiny jumps- nothing higher than 2’6” in a grid- but they are very smooth, very good and not so rocky. So, I am calling that a win!

I’m not quite feeling that ‘heart pounding, dread’ feeling that I normally get while riding, and I am able to be much more proactive about my body while I jump (shoulders tall, using my crop!! correcting straightness and pace instead of feeling helpless, like a passenger).

Plus, I typically HATE gridwork, with a burning passion, and guess what? I am not hating it right now (this may change next week but I am on an upwards trend for now).

Go Oats!


You do it on your own, or not at all

I was reading something interesting about motivation the other day (while finishing the Flow in Sport book). People are always looking for motivation, but what they really need is discipline.


Motivation is fleeting, if it is there at all.

Discipline keeps your foot hitting the ground, your ass in the saddle, day in and day out. Tired, crabby, hungry, sore, cold, hot, achy, it keeps you going.

I kind of struggle with the opposite of motivation/discipline. I can be extremely rigid with myself- unforgiving even. No days off, riding after racing a half marathon (this can be a super bad idea, I was too tired and I’ve done it again even!), scheduling too many exercise activities in one day.

I guess I always tread with a fear that the slope is so slippery to sedentary behaviour that every day I am white-knuckling it with one foot on the banana peel to slide back down to what, exactly? A rest day? hahaha.

Also I am a rather restless person who has a hard time watching movies, with slack time in my schedule, so it is easier to walk, workout, fidget uncontrollably instead of just ‘being’. I totally get this, and that’s how I manage it currently…

But, it’s time for a break! I am going on vacation and going to take it easy. I do have to physically leave my house for this and go somewhere, otherwise the temptation is too great to be busy. Staycations don’t work for me, for that express reason.

So, soon it will be adios for a few weeks, or should I say Ciao!  

Literally sprinting on horseback: Oats update!

We had a pretty nice weekend together, unremarkable but Oats was friendly, and he got lots of hand-grazing after our rides. Saturday was so warm, Oats was covered in white sweat and I had sweat dripping down my forehead from my helmet!

And this takes us to this week- 1 dressage lesson. Tired. So tired!

So, to add to the theme of ‘draggy’ this week, I had an unusually cardiovascular lesson last night, and mannnnn it kicked my butt! I had arranged for two private lessons, and 1 week off from dressage training while my lesson buddy was away for three weeks. Gonna be honest here- I was dreading the private lessons because I was afraid an epic ass-kicking was going down- and I wasn’t wrong here!

We started right off the bat on a trot circle getting Oats forward and off my leg. Easier said than done, of course. He protested in the form of his head coming up, moving up into canter instead of a big trot, and his favourite, throwing a buck here or there.

We handled each of these issues with two things- not pulling back if he goes to canter, instead put in a FIRM inside bend and let him go into trot on his own (it’s very hard to maintain that bend and any sort of commitment in the canter), and then when he does go into trot, ‘give’ more with my arms and work that trot! The bucking/balking part? More forward, and outside bend if he is getting too naughty. He dropped that move asap.

He toned down the naughty, but oh boy I was working my butt off getting the forward (not canter) trot. I was sweating, breathing heavily, everything! Here’s the surprising bit- our right-lead canter had better ‘surge’ moments than the left lead. I know, I was surprised too! Usually the right lead is my sucky, don’t know what I’m doing- lead.

Left he wasn’t giving much to me, but on the right…Progress!

It was exhausting though. My legs cramped up, I was gasping for breath…And I’m STILL coughing up grossness from my stupid cold, that feels like it’s been going on for 3 weeks…

And something that I am still working on- my hands coming up too high, defensively. Turns out when I give my hands something ‘to do’ they don’t rise up as high, so I focused a lot on using the outside rein to keep Oats on the track and stopped myself from trying to get the inside bend as much. It definitely helped.

So. tired. today. though. Karen was like, why are you breathing hard? Your horse isn’t working that hard?!! UGH no kidding eh? I was huffing and puffing and Oats is like…yeah…no problem…

ARGH ponies! It felt like I was doing my sprint workouts with a horse!

I am thinking about avoiding the stairs at work and maybe taking it easier by using the elevator…I’m that tired!

(I had to come back and edit this, as I realized the reason I felt so tired this morning was a. strenuous workouts lately, b. recovering from a lousy head cold but MOSTLY c. took allergy medication in the AM instead of at night and basically sleepwalked to work! Yeesh, no wonder I thought I was going to fall down at the gym this afternoon. Eeek! Also made me realize why, exactly, I was having such great sleeps this week…Because I was medicated to the wazoo, that’s why!).